Toy Soldier scales and sizes - a beginners Guide.

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OK, so you've started to collect toy or model soldiers (sensible decision that !) and you log onto ebay (even more sensible !).

And then you're faced with a problem - the "scale" part of item specifics is blank. So you look at the item description - OO/HO, 1/72, 1:32, 54mm, 10cm - almost endless variations !

Just how big is that toy or model soldier you're bidding on ?

Here are a few notes which might be of help:

  • The "normal" way of classifying size of a model or toy is in millimetres - from the head of the figure (excluding headgear) to the shoes (thus also excluding the plinth or base/stand of the figure).
  • The "standard" size of a toy or model soldier is 54mm - equivalent to about two and a quarter inches tall. This is also referred to as "1:32 scale" - one inch on the toy soldier represents thirty two inches on a real person.
  • Within this "standard" however there are minor variations.
  • French and German toy makers tended to produce their metal figures to a slightly smaller scale (and just to confuse matters even more, German makers also produced items in larger scales !).
  • Some makers of plastic toy soldiers (Starlux in France, Cherilea in the UK, Marx in America/Hong Kong) produced figures of 60mm or more in height. Elastolin of Germany went one further, producing identical figures in 70mm and 40mm scale.
  • Many current makers (Del Prado, Conte, King and Country) have also "gone large" (to use a fast-food term !) - their figures should best be thought of a "1:30" (60mm+ in scale)
  • "Flat" figures (thin tin, engraved on either one or both sides) are usually to a scale of 30mm.
  • Wargames figures (both plastic and metal) can be anything between 6mm and 30mm.They may also be listed as "OO/HO" (referring to model railway track gauges) or "1/72" (one inch of the figure represents seventy two inches of a real person).
  • "Model" soldiers (and the line between "toy" and "model" is blurring as production techniques become more advanced) may be in a multiplicity of scales- 54mm, 75mm, 85mm, 90mm and 120mm being the most popular.
  •  IF IN DOUBT - ASK THE SELLER ! (But please remember- he or she may not have read this guide so the best way to get a clear answer is not to ask "what scale" but "what height" the figure is).

Examples of most of these sizes and scales can be found on my weekly listings on

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